Posts Tagged ‘Games’

Through the Mirror

The articulate Left comes close to capturing NRx from the other side, mapping out a persuasive genealogy (through games theory and public choice analysis). The final line of this piece gets closest:

It is the logical endgame of a dark political vision crafted in opposition to democratic advances; the realisation of a strange freedom which lies at the root of the neoliberal dystopia, from which the political establishment offers no deliverance.

… except, they think counter-democratic darkness is already in power, in the guise of ‘neoliberalism’, and that the populist political charade, with its 40%+ state absorption of economic product, financial central planning, and publicly-promoted egalitarian evangelism, is an outcome compatible with the triumph of a disillusioned right. It seems an absurd sticking point to reach — that in the end, we can’t even agree about who is ruling the world.

April 25, 2015admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

Zero Sum

AoS has a “Fudamental Concepts” post about the zero-sum mentality, which it identifies with leftism, getting a lot of things convincingly right. Unintentionally, however, it exposes the limits of conservatism, and — even more unintentionally — suggests why NRx is something else.

Zero sum games are wars, and market (or catallactic) economics are indeed different. It was by putting war to bed too early, that conservatism destined itself to the ratchet of defeat. Treat an enemy as a business partner, and you lose, over and over again.

The payoff matrix is easy to draw. Re-purposing a prisoner’s dilemma quadrate works fine.


Treat “Stay Silent” as a positive-sum contract, and “Confess and Betray” as stubborn zero-sum antagonism. Searching for positive-sum engagement with a committed zero-sum opponent is the loser’s game that the mainstream ‘right’ has been playing for centuries. It’s the reason libertarians are so often dismissed as smart imbeciles (or worse). There’s business, and there’s war, and only the latter is definitely not going anywhere. In reality, (positive-sum) capitalism depends upon (zero-sum) counter-revolution. Otherwise, the right ‘stays silent’ while the left ‘confesses and betrays’. Our little matrix, and the course of recent global history, equally exhibit where that leads.

Positive-sum is the civilized order at the end of a far dirtier process. In the interim, if it hurts the left it’s worth doing, unless it hurts you more.

February 16, 2015admin 27 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations

Edge of Tomorrow

(Also via Singapore Airlines.)

Edge of Tomorrow is science fiction Groundhog Day, agreed. (It would make no sense to contest this, some scenes achieve near-perfect isomorphy.) Derivative, then, certainly — but this is a point of consistency. Duplication is, after all, the latent theme. Edge of Tomorrow works better because it has formalized the time-repeat plot-system in videogame terms. Death replaces sleep, as action drama replaces comedy, but the recurrence of time is captured more incisively by the Edge of Tomorrow maxim: “We should just re-set.” Further to be noted: Edge of Tomorrow actually has a story about the basis of its time anomaly — and not an especially risible one — while Groundhog Day doesn’t even pretend to.

We should just reset is not only videogame practice, but also the recommendation of quantum suicide, another practical Electrocene philosophy. The best fictional exploration of QS (of which I am aware) is Greg Egan’s Quarantine.

Videogame ideology and quantum suicide are praxial indiscernibles. In other words, their behavioral implications are equivalent. In both cases, the relation to self is made selective, within a set of virtual clones. Whenever developments — within one of multiple assumed timelines — goes ‘bad’ it should be deleted (culled). In that way, only the most highly-adaptive complex behavioral responses are preserved, shaping fate in the direction of success (as defined by the selective agency).

Recent discussions about Christianity and Paganism raise the question: what does it take for a system of belief to attain religious intensity among Westerners today? (Yes, this could be re-phrased in very different ways.) To cut right to the chase: Could statistical ontology become a religion (or the philosophy of a religion)? Quantum suicide terrorism anybody? This is a possibility I find hard to eliminate.

Edge of Tomorrow, therefore? A more significant movie than might be initially realized. (It’s monsters are also quite tasty.)

ADDED: Thoughts on Post-Rationalist religion.

December 26, 2014admin 27 Comments »
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Play the Decline

Bryce Laliberte passed along this pop culture celebration of democracy’s┬ádeath in imperialist chaos. It’s worth a look. (Kevin Spacey seems to have made himself the iconic face of mass media dark enlightenment.)


May 3, 2014admin 17 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Media , Pass the popcorn , Technology
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When political polarization is modeled as a game the result is Chicken. The technical basics are not very complicated.

Reiterated Prisoner’s Dilemma (RPD) is socially integrative. An equilibrium, conforming to maximal aggregate utility, arises through reciprocal convergence upon an optimum strategy: defaulting to trust, punishing defections, and rapidly forgiving corrected behavior. Any society adopting these rule-of-thumb principles consolidates. When everyone norms on this strategy, individual and collective interests are harmonized. Things work.

Chicken is very different. Someone blinks first, so the trust-trust mutual optimum of RPD is subtracted in advance. Rather than the four possible outcomes of a single PD round (A and B do OK, A wins B loses, B wins A loses, A and B both lose) there are just three possible outcomes (A wins B loses, B wins A loses, A and B both lose extremely). In Chicken, it is the avoidance of outcome three, rather than the non-existent chance of PD outcome one, that moderates behavior, and then asymmetrically (someone always blinks first).

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October 15, 2013admin 27 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations